Blue Jackets score

Some Stats: At the very least, Columbus has balanced scoring

Some Stats is a weekly feature that will run every Thursday on PHT. In Some Stats, we look at some stats.

20: Number of Blue Jackets with at least a goal. Such a balanced attack in Columbus. The Jackets just come at you in waves. Or at the very least, ripple after ripple. The Philadelphia Flyers have the NHL’s top offense and only have 16 players with at least a goal. No depth in Philly.

1.55: Tim Thomas’ goals-against average in November. His save percentage (.943) isn’t too bad either. In the seven games he’s started this month, Thomas has three shutouts  He’s also had outstanding offensive support from the Bruins, who’ve averaged 4.6 goals in those seven games. OK, you get it – Boston’s playing well.

3: Home victories for the Colorado Avalanche, the fewest of any team. After last night’s 3-0 loss to Vancouver, the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater wrote the Avs’ play at the Pepsi Center has “gotten to the point of sheer absurdity.” One thing’s for certain – Joe Sacco won’t last much longer behind the bench if his team keeps stinking it up in front of the paying customers. Maybe Greg Sherman should hire a Tim Tebow cardboard cut-out to coach. Couldn’t do any worse and might bring in some fans. Only problem for Sherman is the Tebow cut-out might start pushing for the GM’s job. Might deserve it, too. At least a cardboard cut-out can’t answer a telephone and say, “Sure, we’ll do that trade.”

20%: Kris Versteeg’s shooting percentage. The Florida forward has 12 goals, tied for third in the NHL, and is off to the best statistical start in Panthers history. But he’s not taking all the credit. When asked what it was like skating on a line with Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann, Versteeg said, “Those guys can make such incredible plays. It’s just about getting open and doing stuff.” (I assume by “doing stuff,” he means “shooting the puck in the net.”)

3:28: Shorthanded ice time per game for Flyers rookie center Sean Couturier – an astounding amount of PK time for an 18-year-old forward. “A lot of young players are a liability but Sean is not,” GM Paul Holmgren told “He’s strong on his stick, strong on the puck and like I said, he’s got good hockey sense.” Did you hear that, Scott Howson? Couturier has a very promising future, says Paul Holmgren.

Canucks say Markstrom (hamstring) out another week — could it be longer?

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Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.

Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.

With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.

Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.

Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.

It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.

Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.

McDavid will center Hall and Slepyshev

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid said he didn’t have any trouble falling asleep on the eve of his professional debut.

But when he woke up on Thursday he said it finally hit him.

“In the days leading up I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,” McDavid said. “Kind of when I woke up this morning, I guess that’s kind of when it hit me that I’ll be playing in my first NHL game. I think that’s when I first realized.”

When the Oilers play at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, all eyes will be on the 18-year-old McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and the most hyped player to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby of the Penguins made his debut a decade ago.

Speaking in front of a crowd of reporters on Thursday following his team’s morning skate, the soft-spoken rookie admitted to having some butterflies but said he felt pretty good and was excited to get going.

“It’s just special,” McDavid said of his NHL debut. “I’m living out my dream, so there’s nothing better than that. I’m just really looking forward to tonight.”

McDavid will be centering the Oilers’ second line against the Blues with Taylor Hall on the left wing and Anton Slepyshev on the right. Hall was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, while Slepyshev will also be making his NHL debut on Thursday night.

“We all see what he can do in practice and the games,” Hall said of McDavid. “It’s important to remember he’s 18. I’m 23 and I still have bad games. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world and still has bad games. There’s going to be some trials and some errors, but I think that he’s in a position to succeed and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow.”

Oilers coach Todd McLellan, hired in May after spending seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks, has already gotten accustomed to receiving questions about McDavid.

The first few questions McLellan was asked on Thursday were about the NHL’s most popular newcomer.

“What I’ve found with him is he’s working really hard to just be himself and fit in,” the coach said. “He doesn’t want to be special, he doesn’t want to be treated any differently but he obviously is. He’s trying to adapt to that and he’s doing a very good job of it personally and collectively I think our team has done a good job around him.”

McLellan said there are three levels of pressure surrounding him.

The first is McDavid’s individual expectations, which he is sure are extremely high. The second comes from the rookie’s teammates, coaching staff, organization and city of Edmonton.

“But where it really changes is the national, international and world-wide eyes being on him,” McLellan said. “How does that compare to some of the other players I’ve been around? I haven’t been around an 18-year-old who has had to deal with that. It’s new to all of us.

“I did spend some time talking to Sid (Sidney Crosby) about his experience and even since then the world’s really changed as far as media and social media and that type of stuff. This is a new adventure for everybody involved. I know Connor has the tools to handle the pressure and we’ll do everything we can to help him.”